ACT Building Process

The process for getting building projects completed in the ACT is governed by legislation set down by the ACT Government. The central piece of legislation relevant to building in the ACT is the Building Act 2004 and associated regulations. While there are some differences in the process depending on the type of building (in particular the approval processes for residential or commercial building) the basic process remains the same and is outlined below.

  • Employ an architect/draftsperson to prepare plans.
  • For commercial buildings and multi-unit developments, submit plans, easement checks and ACTEW clearances as part of the documentation for a Development Application (DA) to ACTPLA for approval. Some types of building projects do not require this approval. ACTPLA can provide information on these exemptions.
  • Once the DA has been approved, the land owner appoints a certifier (such as Certified Building Solutions) who does the building approval. This involves checking the plans for compliance with the Building Code of Australia and checking builder's licences and insurances to ensure they are appropriate for the building work proposed. For commercial buildings, it may also include obtaining ACT Fire Brigade clearance.
  • For single residential building projects that are exempt from DA, submit plans and other documentation to the certifier appointed by the land owner for verification of DA exemption and building approval.
  • Once the DA (or exemption verification) and building approvals are obtained, the certifier will, on application by an ACT licensed builder, issue a building commencement notice and construction of the building can commence.
  • During the construction phase the certifier undertakes inspections at the stages specified in the Building Act 2004 to ensure the building is being constructed in accordance with the approved plans. For more complex buildings and as deemed necessary, it is our standard practice to undertake inspections additional to those required under the Building Act 2004 to ensure satisfactory completion of the project. This commitment does not incur additional CBS fees.
  • Once construction is completed in accordance with the approved plans, the certifier submits the required documentation to ACTPLA for their issue of a Certificate of Occupancy and Use (COU).

Once the COU has been issued by ACTPLA, the building is ready for your use.

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